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4m sleep regression support thread

(8 Posts)
Justaphase16 Mon 17-Oct-16 10:31:58

Anyone else going through the pain that is the 4m sleep regression and fancy some support/somewhere to generally vent?

DS (nearly 5 months) is in his 6th week of it. We're on hourly wakeups most nights....it's brutal. I'm shattered, if only I knew when it would end!

FATEdestiny Mon 17-Oct-16 11:45:31

It is brutal. But you realise it isn't really a "regression" - this suggests a phase that you go through and come out the other side back to how things were.

The newborn phase has a very different sleep physiology. It's almost like a fouth trimester. Sleep is similar to sleep in the womb - in that it's a passive state.

During the first 3-4 months of life, as long as all the baby's needs are met then the passive state is asleep. So baby is only likely to wake when hungry, uncomfortable (dirty nappy, too hot/cold) or in pain. As long as baby has a fully tummy and feels comfy and secure - then baby will enter its passive state of sleeping.

From around 3-4 months old this all changes. It's not a phase. It's not a regression. It's a permanent change.

The act of going to sleep now becomes active. It's no longer passive, parent and baby now have to actively work to get baby to sleep. You also have to work to keep baby asleep because sleep now starts to develop into cycles, so there will be brief wakeful times between one sleep cycle and the next - baby and parent have to actively work to help baby stay asleep through one cycle into the next.

You only come through this stage when you learn a new way of actively helping baby get to sleep. So thats how long the "regression" will last.

Some things parents use to actively encourage sleep are parent-dependant and some allow for independant settling. Some methods are easier to wean off, others less so.

Some ideas:
Feeding to sleep
Cuddling to sleep
Rocking, bouncing
Car drive
Pushchair walk
Sling walk/juggle
Swaddle/tightly tucked in

Justaphase16 Mon 17-Oct-16 12:01:11

Thanks Fate, yes I understand the physiology of it so not expecting things to go back to the way they were (shame!)

We use a dummy but I'm in two minds about keeping it as I end up replacing it every sleep cycle at the moment. May get the sleepytot bunny and see if he gets on with that.

FATEdestiny Mon 17-Oct-16 13:37:31

Babies don't tend to have the physical dexterity to replace their own dummy until around 7-9 months. They need to have developed the hand-eye coordination to see them move hand to pick up, have the finger/thumb pincer grip, then be able to notice which way around the dummy is and have the manual dexterity to turn it around in their hands.

Then once these physical development milestones have been reached, You then face the problem if ensuring dummy is findable. I used a ribbon seen into the sleeping bag as a dummy saver. I understand sleepsuits work too.

So it may be worth adjusting your expectations with regards to the dummy. D ummys dont/aren't meant to stay in the mouth when asleep. As mouth/jaw muscles relax then "dummy drop" is what always happens. So it's likely to need reinserting by a parent at every wake up for a few months yet.

No amount if doing anything will speed up the rate at which your baby physically develops with their dexterity to manipulate the dummy. So if you are thinking about not using it, you might as well do it staight away because nothing will improve or change for a few months yet. You will need to develop alternate settling methods though, so I'm unsure what it would solve?

FATEdestiny Mon 17-Oct-16 13:40:26

Sorry about the typing errors. Amongst other correction I could do is:

"I used a ribbon seen sewn into the sleeping bag as a dummy saver. I understand sleepsuits sleepytots work too"

FATEdestiny Mon 17-Oct-16 13:48:01

Sorry, ive just realised I sound really unsympathetic and for a support thread that's really pants of me.

I do understand how crapoy it is when baby is awake often and has to be settled. It is crap. Hopefully the two of you will find a way to help him sleep more very soon flowers

Justaphase16 Mon 17-Oct-16 14:11:16

It's okay Fate, everything you've said makes sense. I think it's just a case of bearing with it for the moment and hoping things improve as he heads towards 6 months <crosses everything>

nothoughts Tue 18-Oct-16 09:40:46

We are just coming to the end of it. DS2 will be 5 months next week. Still having some bad nights. But generally much better and the hourly waking has stopped.
I agree with fate you gave to find something that works for you an your son. Good luck

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